The 7 Faces Of Managers

Frankie Kemp

14 January 2024

The ability to wear different hats is essential for anyone managing others. My business communication skills coaching develops the attributes you need for these roles and identifies when to use them. You don’t have to have an acting background but you will need to know how to play seven different roles, which are as follows: 

  1. Leader

In industrial sectors and economies a foreman would be making sure everyone adheres to a system, organising processes and people. In the knowledge economy, management and leadership are not easily separated. People look to their managers not just to assign them a task, but to define a purpose: managers must organize workers, not just to maximise efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results. 

  1. Catalyst

A manager has to make things happen, but through other people. They need to motivate in order to be able to delegate. Sometimes this feels like pinning down a fish: what propels individuals to action isn’t set in stone and is different for everyone.  This means you need to have regular face-to-face contact with people to understand them. Honing in on what makes individuals tick is a necessary skill but one that you can develop. 

  1. Coach

Your team members may need your guidance. Sometimes it’s quicker to do it yourself.  If you’ve children, you’ll know what I mean. The problem with that is they’ll be hanging off your Herman Miller chairNo amount of rotating will shake them off since you’ve just developed co-dependants. Put a bit of coaching in upfront and you’ll free up your time later. 

  1. Observer

To make progress, you need to note what’s going on and how people operate in that paradigm. Then decide how to interact in that world. Whether you need to change your leadership style or the way you influence people depends on the status quo you observe. Change is a constant so by keeping your eyes and ears open, you’ll find a way to optimise your teams. 

  1. Peer

You could look on and tell your team what to do, or join in, roll up your sleeves and collaborate. Looking on develops a ‘them and us’ situation, whereas acting as a peer earns respect and delivers buy-in. There are times when professional distance will not win respect but resentment. Collaboration engenders greater respect and shows that you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. 

  1. Supporter

A supporter provides support. If you already guessed that, well done to you. 

Delegation isn’t always just a matter of sending people off to work on a project or task. You may be the one with the budget and resources they need. Support can appear in any of the following forms:  feedback; structure; equipment; being a sounding board; providing space and time for your people to flourish by managing their workload accordingly. Either way, delegation is not a matter of ditching responsibility. Even if you do let go of the reins, you always need to know where they are. 

  1. Challenger

To get the best out of people, a certain level of challenge should keep them on their toes. 

Without challenge, individuals can coast, sacrificing the resourcefulness that’s necessary in shifting sands. It also reflects a level of faith in people when you encourage them to reach beyond themselves. However, you still need to ensure that this aspiration for them matches the one they have for themselves, otherwise you’ll need to sell it more. 

Have you anything to add to these roles? Is there one I’ve omitted? Feel free to let me know in the comments… 

Your Actions: 

  1. Changing your persona needs to reflect in your voice and body language. In this article 7 Types Of Vocal Tone Managers Need To Crack I describe a number of ways of achieving this.  
  2. The ‘coaching’ and ‘challenging’ aspects are covered in this post here. 
  3. To become a better ‘catalyst’, ‘peer’ and ‘supporter’, go here to dig into a basic skill which is sadly not practised enough -either personally or professionally. 

In my other communications skills courses I coach other methods, such as storytelling, problem-solving and interpersonal skills.  So contact me, Frankie Kemp, to find out more and become a communications ninja.  

 This article was originally published in 2016 and was completely reworked in January 2024.

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